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CURRENT EVENT | JUNE 15, 2014

Protesting Prayer in Public School

School sponsored prayer was outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963. The case that led to this decision began in November 1956 when a 16-year-old schoolboy protested his public school’s mandatory prayer and Bible reading period by reading silently from the Koran and refusing to stand for the Lord’s Prayer. This simple act of resistance led to a huge change in the way public schools interact with religion. In the early 1960s, 40% of school districts in the U.S. had mandatory Bible reading and prayer; it is now unconstitutional for any public school to sponsor prayer. However, there continue to be challenges regarding prayer and religion in public schools. In 2012, a Rhode Island teen complained about a prayer banner at her high school. Listen to learn how the community and courts responded to her challenge.

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Story Length: 4:10

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • What was one of Malala Yousafzai’s first experiences with the dangers of religious extremism?
  • After miraculously surviving her attack, what has Malala focused her work on?
  • What is the message that Malala is trying to send to those in power?
  • What does Malala want to do in the future?
  • What are the goals of Malala’s mission to support girls?

Discussion Themes

  • What is your opinion on Malala’s message about the power of education?
  • Why do you think that ISIS might want to silence people like Malala?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234